Episode 134

Struggling with Imposter Syndrome?
Learn how to Overcome the Imposter with Kris Kelso.

Ready to learn the secret to taking that inner critic and making it your inner superfan? In this episode, Kris Kelso digs deep into taking your fear of failure and turning your vulnerability into your superpower! 

Want a video with closed captions? Check out the video at youtube.com/@careerbenders

Listen Now

Kris’ Book (plus a free sample chapter!):

Overcoming The Impostor: Silence Your Inner Critic and Lead With Confidence

Connect with Kris:

kriskelso.com

LinkedIn

Kris’ Book Recommendations

 
Kris’ Bio

Kris Kelso is a Keynote Speaker, a two-time entrepreneur, a Professional Certified Coach, and is the author of “Overcoming The Impostor: Silence Your Inner Critic and Lead with Confidence.”

Kris has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, business owners, and their leadership teams as a coach, facilitator, and mentor. He is the Dean of Entrepreneurship at the Professional Christian Coaching Institute, an advisor and instructor at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, and is a contributing writer for Fast Company Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and The Nashville Business Journal.

Kris has founded multiple companies and has served on the boards of directors of several non-profit organizations. He lives with his wife and three teenaged sons in a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee.

You can learn more about Kris and his work at kriskelso.com and
overcomingtheimpostor.com

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Transcript:

Angie 

Hello, everybody, and welcome to another episode of No More Mondays podcast. I’m your host, Angie Callen. Imposter syndrome; We’re going there everybody. Do you have it? Do you know what it is? It’s a silent epidemic in the professional world, and it’s a topic we need to bring more light to as professionals of all levels navigate this challenge and find their worth in their careers. Kris Kelso is an expert on this matter. And he’s here with me today to dig into the what and the why of impostor syndrome, and more importantly, the how of stopping it and it’s tracked. He’s a keynote speaker, a leadership coach and the author of overcoming the imposter, silence your inner critic and lead with confidence. Kris joins me today to help us understand how to build humble confidence and quiet the imposter within here he is everybody Kris Kelso Welcome to no more Mondays.

 

Kris 

Oh, thank you so much. I’m so glad to be here. I’ve been looking forward to this conversation. And

 

Angie 

a side note for everybody out there: Chris and I connected a few weeks ago and wit,hin five minutes of the conversation, I was like, We have to stop talking because this needs to be recorded. Yeah. So I, I have been looking forward to this as well. And, you know, in my line of work and working with, you know, people who are in career development and professional development, I realized really early on the the lack of confidence, or the struggle with confidence is real across all levels, whether it’s a new grad, trying to figure out where the heck they fit in the professional world, or this like 30 year seasoned executive who’s like, I have no idea how to go find another, you know, C suite role, there’s this kind of competence piece that really, that really disrupts our ability to progress in our career. And I think that a lot of it comes back to this kind of idea of imposter syndrome, which is maybe the new label for a lot of these things that we’ve suffered with for a while. But, you know, let’s just dig in, and I, and it is a term I hear daily, you wrote the book on it. Let’s get everybody on the on the same page. How do you define imposter syndrome? What is it? Well,

 

Kris 

the term was originally coined in the 1970s. So, it is not a new phenomenon, though it has really been gaining a lot of awareness of visibility in the last decade or so. And And essentially, it’s a it’s a psychological term that refers to the tendency of many people to overvalue other people’s success and accomplishments, and to undervalue or even doubt the reality of your own success. And so what happens is, I look at another entrepreneur or a podcast host, like yourself, and I say, Wow, she’s, she’s really got it all together. And she, she’s successful, because she knows what she’s doing. She’s got a plan, she executes it, well, she seems to be really confident and make all the right moves. Whereas, you know, my entrepreneurial story, and my success has involved a lot of luck and timing. And, man, there were times when I just happened to know the right person, or I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way, and just managed to muddle my way through it. And so maybe I’m not really legit. You know, maybe I’m my success is a little bit of a fluke. And, and I’m at risk of being found out or people realizing that I don’t know what I’m doing.

 

Angie 

And the irony of it is, there’s nothing to find out because this is mostly in our head, and we call it imposter syndrome. But it’s not necessarily a syndrome in the clinical sense. It’s a little bit more, let’s say, of a condition. Yeah, but it’s, I think a lot of it comes up because compared it’s really the comparison syndrome, if we apply another syndrome term to it, of judging your own progress based on someone else’s start middle or end and you aren’t at the same start, or end as they are.

 

Kris 

Yeah, I refer to that as the comparison trap, where we judge the reality of our own life against a what is really a very polished and filtered version of somebody else’s life or career. Right, because you never know somebody’s complete story. You don’t see all the messy middle or the behind the scenes chaos that may be required to get to that very polished looking resume or career or accomplishments. But you know that about yourself, you know, that behind the sort of the facade and the front, there’s a lot of cracks, a lot of flaws, a lot of struggle. And so anytime you compare yourself to somebody else, you’re you’re comparing your reality to a very narrow view of their reality.

 

Angie 

And I dug on social media a lot, even though I use it. That’s one I believe one reason this is this is much more prevalent today. So even though imposter syndrome was coined in the 70s, I think there’s a lot more awareness and visibility and maybe even understanding of it today. And I’m curious why You think that is? Why has this kind of surged into the forefront more recently?

 

Kris 

Well, I think you’re right that social media and just even generally, the greater connectedness and awareness and the visibility we have to so many examples of other people like us around the globe results in a lot more of that comparison trap a lot more of us measuring ourselves against a really narrow view of another example of what we think we want to be. And, and so I think social media and the connectedness we have has exacerbated this problem. Those things are not all bad. There’s a lot of good that comes from them. But it has resulted in this massive amount of comparison and contrasting ourselves against other people for whom we don’t know the whole story.

 

Angie 

And I see this come up a lot like younger people especially get really caught up in like, analysis paralysis, because they’re looking at somebody who is walking, you know, a different road or a row three, four years, 10 years ahead. And there’s this idea of like, the perfectionism piece that comes into one aspect of impostor syndrome, that just gets you into that comparison trap.

 

Kris 

Yes, yeah. And I look at even my own business, and comparing to people that are in similar businesses. So today, I’ve run multiple businesses at different times. But today, I am primarily a professional speaker, I do some executive coaching. I’m on faculty at a couple of schools where I teach some classes, I authored a book, I developed an online course that I’ve rolled out that people are now going through, and you can look at my sort of collection of businesses and revenue streams, and say, Man, I could never be like that, or or I’m not there. And the answer is, Well, neither was I, at first, right? I didn’t, I didn’t write a book and launch a course and develop as a professional speaker and build a coaching client. I didn’t do all those things at once. It didn’t happen overnight. It was a process, it was a process. And I have built these layers one at a time, little by little, and I’ve added things. And I’ve experimented. And I’ve done some things that just flat out didn’t work, right, you don’t see all the failures, and all the all the the half done projects in my past, you just see the things that are working right now. And so it’s easy to compare to someone and say, Man, they just they got all this stuff going, how am I ever going to be like that? And the answer is one layer at a time, one step at a time. That’s how we all got here.

 

Angie 

I think you really have to keep the need for instant gratification in check, when you are dealing with impostor syndrome, or working on any sort of process driven progression of which career development and professional development is exactly that. And I think this need to be at the end and to be at a place that somebody else is because we can see that and see the comparison. Right there. It really disrupts the the ability to like trust the process.

 

Kris 

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. What I’ve learned is that I want to learn from other people; I want to glean wisdom from their journey , their experiences, and the things I’ve done without measuring myself against them, take

 

Angie 

inspiration from them, but don’t try to be them in where they are right now. Right?

 

Kris 

Yeah, because not only are they on a different journey, and in a different place, they also may have chosen to make sacrifices that I don’t want to make, they might have a different set of values or priorities, they may have, you know, skipped out on things that are very, very important to me. And so if I just compare myself to exactly where they’re at and what they’re doing, I may have to violate my own values in order to measure up to that. And if I got there, if I actually achieved being just like that other person, I may not like myself and my work very much,

 

Angie 

right. So you’re not the other person.

 

Kris 

That’s, that’s, that’s the real key is to not try to be someone else and not try to live someone else’s dream, someone else’s vision, someone else’s version of success. I’m really big now on different creating your own definition of success.

 

Angie 

This is why we get along. It’s funny. If I told you this when we chatted a few weeks ago, I have this article on our website that I wrote, I think now five years ago, and it’s literally titled What does growth mean to you? And it is, I believe the number one source of referrals into our website and we own like the number one or number two Google hit on what is definition of career growth. And I, and this was like a riff I put out there like four or five years ago because I was just on a so books about how corporate America does not and has not taken the time or intent to define that. And to allow people different options and how they grow their careers and in defining success outside of just climb the ladder, get bigger titles make more money. And I’m a huge fan of sitting down and reflecting and understanding your values so that you can define success and move forward in a way that’s aligned with that for you.

 

Kris 

Yes, we are, we are of the same mind in that regard. For sure.

 

Angie 

That was my that was my preach moment of the day, I think. And And I’m curious, you brought up a few of the initiatives that you’ve got going on right now, which I love. And we’ll talk about a little bit more in a bit. But I, I would love to kind of look inside a little bit and understand kind of what your personal experience with impostor syndrome is, and how did you come to really spend, have this kind of specialty and deeper opinion and look into imposter syndrome?

 

Kris 

Yeah, I started my first business, which was an IT consulting firm. I used to be very technical many years ago, and I started in my early 30s. And I had no business training whatsoever, didn’t even have a college degree. I never went to college, I’ve never taken a single college class. And so I remember going to a large bookstore, you remember what those are big books. I remember going into a bookstore and buying a stack of books covering anything I thought I needed to know to run a small business, finance and marketing and sales and contracts. And just, I just bought a bunch of books and started reading and figured I’m gonna figure this out. And so, everything I was doing in those first few years as an entrepreneur, I was learning for the first time. And, and I love to learn. So I really enjoyed that process. But I also was just plagued by this fear that there was something I didn’t know that I needed to know. And more specifically, that there was something that was taught on the very first day of business school, which of course, I did not attend, that one day would come up in a conversation and somebody would say, oh, wait a minute, you don’t know about that. What are you doing here? Like, how are you even in this room right now, if you don’t know this basic fundamental concept, and that that would be my undoing, right, that I would be exposed as a fraud that people would realize I was just making it up as I went. And I would be somehow ostracized. And it wasn’t until years later, maybe a decade later, that I learned about this thing called impostor syndrome. And when I learned about it, and sort of heard the definition, for the first time, it was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. To know that a this is a thing that psychologists have identified it and named it and B to learn that it affects a majority of the population. Like I thought it was just me, I was the only one that felt that way. And it turns out that 70 80% of the population experiences that at some point during their career. And here’s the kicker: it tends to be more prevalent among high achievers.

 

Angie 

Yes, it does. It totally does. And I’ve been there with you, right? And it’s, and I don’t know that you ever just completely get rid of the imposter syndrome. I think you find mechanisms to cope and quiet it. Yeah. But I’m six years in I am six years in to my career as a career coach, I have people that work at all of the giant alphabet soup, places that you want to work making hundreds of $1,000 a year. And sometimes I sit here and I’m like, Who the heck am I to be coaching these people in their careers? Right? So it’s, it’s one of those things that it’s it’s real, and it’s everybody. And I think the high achievers tend to we tend to beat ourselves up more and hold ourselves to such a high standard, that then when you get into that comparison trap, that’s a really little ugly recipe for kind of mental disaster. Yeah,

 

Kris 

yeah. And for some people, you know, it’s just sort of an annoying, extra bit of self doubt and frustration, but for others, it can become truly debilitating. And I have I’ve seen people self sabotage, right, the fear of being exposed as a fraud or the fear of being found out or the fear of failure and failure in public causes you to become really risk averse, really conservative, really careful, you start doing a lot of unnecessary extra work to to double check everything and, and that results in you being less effective. And I I know of a story that I shared in the book of a man who essentially got a incredible opportunity at a great growing company. He got a senior level position as a young guy, and he self sabotaged himself out of that job he. Lost he eventually lost the job because his performance suffered precisely because he was afraid of his performance suffering, filling prophecy. Exactly, exactly he and he said he looked back, and he realized it was just the self doubt killed him. And and if if he had overcome that if he had had the tools to recognize those patterns and counteract them, he could have flourished in that role, but, but he killed it himself. And this is why I started not only studying this for myself, but as I started talking about it with other entrepreneurs, other business leaders, and I started getting the responses from them of having that same experience of saying, Oh, my goodness, I thought I was the only one, thank you so much for helping me realize this as a thing. Eventually, it was clear to me that I needed to write on this topic, I needed to talk about it, I needed to be more open and more explicit. And that culminated in writing a book and now speaking to audiences around the world about this topic.

 

Angie 

I love this so much misery, got some company. And out of that came the old, like the overcomer. You know, you thrive through that adversity. And now, in hindsight, you have all these resources to give to people and you brought up the tools, I love tools, I love practical advice. And I kind of want to get into a little bit of it. So one of the things I want to talk about that I know is part of your kind of like, leadership philosophy is what actually wait a minute, I’m gonna go there in a second, because there was something you said that I remembered I wanted to talk about, and that is the self sabotage that can come from imposter syndrome. And I think it’s, I think it’s important to just linger here for a second. Because there’s there are a few you brought up a perfect example of a real world situation. I where I see it come in is people will like they are unhappy in their position, and then their job or their career, but they just have a complete, like lack of action. Because they they have no hope or confidence that something else is yes, is attainable, right? I’ve never done it, therefore, I can’t do it. Right. There’s a little fake it till you make it an overcoming impostor syndrome sometimes, which definitely comes into the entrepreneurial side of your professional life. So I know there’s a lot of you out there who are also coaches and business owners. Imposter syndrome can completely disrupt your business potential because it can keep you from launching a new product, it can keep you from raising prices, it can keep you from going for a higher level clientele, simply because you don’t think you can because you never have. And so now we’re gonna get into practical ways to quiet that voice and move forward. So one thing I wanted to talk about, and I and it seemed like it was kind of part of your philosophy here was this idea of like humble leadership. Because what we don’t want to do and we don’t need to do is go swing the pendulum the other way and go from lacking self confidence, self worth and self self meaning with a terrible inner critic. That’s that’s dragging down our confidence to being an egomaniac. Yes. So where is that balance? And what do we look? What does that look like? And how do we find it,

 

Kris 

I started to recognize this pattern of waffling between a lack of confidence and insecurity, and a, an outward arrogance that was an attempt to overcome that insecurity. And so I began to label this proud insecurity. And this is when you are secretly fearful. And so you’re overcompensating by trying to talk yourself into confidence. I’m amazing, I can do it. And you’re projecting to other people. I’ve got it all figured out. I’ve got it together, you’re sort of trying to will yourself to confidence and, and this really is sort of the fake it till you make it approach, right. Just act confident Until you become confident. And I think that that actually sets you up for impostor syndrome. Because when you’re faking it, you know, you’re faking it. And so you feel like a fake, right?

 

Angie 

And so you’re just waiting for somebody to go, Hey, you’re a fake. Exactly.

 

Kris 

You’re you’re expecting to be exposed at some point. And so this fake it till you make it this proud insecurity, this, there’s a lot of tension and a lot of emotional energy that goes into managing that difference. So if that’s one end of the spectrum, imagine a spectrum across your page or screen. One is this proud insecurity, which has a lot of baggage, a lot of tension with it. It’s a lot of stress, at the other end is what I call humble confidence. And humble confidence is a place where you are comfortable enough, saying there are some things I know. And there are some things I don’t know. There are some areas that I’m really good and there are some areas that I’m working to grow. And when you realize and there’s a whole set of mindset shifts that go into this so I’m making it sound really clean and easy, but it’s a it’s a journey. Need to humble confidence where you get to a place that you say, You know what? My confidence doesn’t come from having all the answers. My confidence comes from my ability and my track record of being able to figure out the answers. My confidence comes from the fact that you mentioned earlier, you know, the, the inexperience. And when you try something new, I had this realization, in looking at my career and looking at my journey that everything that I’ve ever done that I was really proud of. And in particular, when I accomplish something for the first time, it was always preceded by the same thing. And that is inexperience. Every time you do something new, it starts with having not done it. And of course, now that I say that it’s laughable how simple that is. But we don’t think that way, we don’t look at inexperience, as an opportunity, we look at it as a as a weakness as an obstacle, right? But inexperience is truly an opportunity. It’s a door opening. And so everything I’ve ever done has been preceded by an experience. So inexperience shouldn’t be thought of as a hurdle. It should be thought of as the first step. And that is a place of humble confidence of saying, Yeah, I haven’t done this before. But I’ve done lots of other things for the first time. And I’ve managed to figure those out. And even when I’ve failed, I’ve learned from that failure. And so I’m going to try something new. And I’m either going to succeed, or I’m going to learn, those are my two options. And, and I’ll figure it out, and I’m going to ultimately be successful. But I don’t have to project perfection, and pride and ultimate confidence. I can just rest in this humble confidence that I’ll get there.

 

Angie 

There’s you said, you just said some things I say exactly the it because it’s, it seems very ideal to say there is no such thing as failure. But if you really stop and think about it, there isn’t because out of it, it almost never do you get nothing out of a failure, which means you now have experience. And this is one of the reasons for those of you that listen, regular, you know, we’re big, like outdoor people, we do tons of like adventure activities. And I am a huge proponent of the idea of getting outside and trying new physical things, because it can be a way to condition yourself to this idea that I can do something different, I can learn something new. And sometimes doing it physically is almost a little bit of a lower barrier of entry to reinforcing the fact that throughout your entire life, you’ve learned new things, and gone from zero to some sort of experience. And that can then carry over to some of this, let’s say more intellectual type of of activities, where it’s like, okay, I have to overcome a learning curve. Yeah. And what happens, guess what if I don’t overcome the learning curve, now I know I can overcome that learning curve. I know something more about myself. And I think that a lot of this comes back to this idea of just letting go of this fear of failure that we grip so much in society today, which I do think comes back to the comparison trap to come full circle. Yep. But we’ve got to let go of some of that and be okay with the I don’t know, however, I’m going to find out your life. Yeah,

 

Kris 

I’ve developed several monitors that have helped me with self doubt and overcoming the impostor, and one of them is failure is only truly failure if I learn nothing. So you say that failure doesn’t exist. I would agree with that. It doesn’t exist as long as you choose to make sure you draw you draw from your failure, in your experience, some wisdom that you help to propel you forward. So to me, failure leads to learning leads to success, therefore, failure leads to success as long as you learn from it. And the only real failure is when you fail and go, Well, there was nothing to get out of that. I’m just going to chalk that up as a as a waste of time and walk away from it, which I tried never to do. So. So I don’t experience much failure anymore. Because I always draw something from the experience. And I see failure as part of the process of success, rather than the opposite of success. Oh,

 

Angie 

that’s a great, that’s a great way to think about it. Failure is almost like a byproduct or it maybe you could even say a catalyst to success. Yes, instead of a hindrance to it. And I think that’s huge. And a lot of this is the mindset piece, right? You said the C word. I love the C word. It’s a choice. You can either choose to learn from a failure or you can choose not and just stay in your in your vicious little cycle. And I liked that you brought up kind of this mantra or like a perspective with which you look at these things because I want to get into some kind of like, let’s say tactical, some somewhat kind of act. actionable advice. So I think the conversation so far has been very helpful to people out there who are like, okay, everything they’re talking about applies to me. I now know that I have an inner critic, and it’s rearing its ugly head. Yeah. How do we begin overcoming it? What are some some very practical, actionable tools in the toolkit to help get get a step away from it? Yeah. Why is it a little bit and progress forward towards success?

 

Kris 

Well, we’ve talked around one of them already, which is to really reframe your view of failure. Failure is learning, learning is part of the process of success. And then the way that that changes things for you, the way that that really frees you up is you become more willing to talk about failures. In fact, there’s so so much value in analyzing failure, we try to sweep our failures under the rug, we try to move past him as quickly as we can and, and move on to something that we’re good at. But really, we should be dissecting them, and, and even offering them to other people. Man, when I open up with somebody with a group of people, either whether it’s on a stage speaking to an audience or clients that I’m coaching or working with, and I talk about a mistake that I made, or something that I tried, that didn’t work, but I unpack the learning from it. They’re so grateful, they’re so thankful and appreciative, they get a lot of value from my learning. So not only do I learn, but other people can learn from my failure, I can pass that wisdom on. And, and here’s the real interesting part of it is when you can get honest about your failures, and you can extract learning from it. People actually see you as braver, smarter, more, you know, more wise, more experienced, they don’t think less of you, when you acknowledge a failure and describe the learning from it, they think more of you that they actually think of you as being very strong, because you’re willing to talk about those mistakes. So we fear that people are gonna think we’re weak. And the opposite happens when we actually open up and share openly.

 

Angie 

That’s you hit the nail on the head with how you wrap that up. vulner we seem vulnerable, being vulnerable is a superpower and not a weakness, and it’s where relatability and actually I would even say attraction happen, because we’re all humans. And as soon as we all stop trying to be superhuman, you become approachable and understandable. And, and the your willingness to show vulnerability. It brings empathy to the equation, and help somebody else see that they can get through the challenge, too. Yeah. And that that is where our experiences in like that coaching and speaking space really do support the people that we’re trying to help through it. And that’s why we don’t have to fake it till we make it. Yeah. Because if you’re a step ahead, and you have that mindset, you have that empathy, and you’re willing to share that vulnerability. You wrote your confidence in that. That’s the humble confidence we’re talking about. And that’s what you have to offer people, and it’s your truth.

 

Kris 

Yes. And this is the second big mindset shift besides reframing failure as learning, the second big mindset shift, and the thing you can specifically do to help yourself overcome impostor syndrome, is that vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness. And that if you are struggling with imposter syndrome, one of the best things you can do is tell someone about it. Talk to somebody because because here’s what will happen. And I know this from experience and evidence, the studies prove it out statistically 70 80% of people experience impostor syndrome. So if you talk about somebody, it is very likely that they’re going to say, Oh, my goodness, thank you, I thought I was the only one I appreciate you saying that. And here again, use You look like the brave one, you become the leader, because you were the one willing to speak up, right? But they’re gonna be so appreciative, you’re going to help them, and then it’s going to create a dialogue. It’s going to create an opening for conversation where you can begin to help one another and encourage one another, support one another. And both by sharing your insecurity, your your, your perceived weakness, your fears, by sharing that and then have someone respect and admire you rather than rejecting you. That alone is going to boost your confidence, right? You’re going to see that it’s not as bad as I thought it was. And then you’re also going to relate to someone, encourage them, and you’re going to get value. You’re going to feel valuable by being an encourager to someone, and that is going to boost your confidence. So there’s so many ways that opening up about impostor syndrome and this this is one of the biggest aha is from all my research all my study writing the book talking to people, the biggest aha is that imposter syndrome at the root is the fear of vulnerability. It’s the fear of people knowing who and what you really are. But vulnerability is the antidote. The thing you fear is exactly what you need to fix it. Ah,

 

Angie 

I just got the chills. But You’re 100%, right? If you really break down the simplicity into a very simple framework, we are that’s where, because there’s, depending on other, you know, other reading I’ve done about impostor syndrome, there’s different types, right? Or there’s or there’s different way it manifests, I think might be a good way to put it. But if you think about all of them, the perfectionism, the procrastination, the like all of those come back to this idea of be very critical of something we don’t like about ourselves, burying it deep down and being unwilling to be vulnerable, vulnerable about it. But as soon as you give voice to it, then you get your power back.

 

Kris 

Yes, yes. When you start talking about it. And when you, again, acknowledge it as this is an area that I’m working on, this is something I’m developing, this is something that where, where I feel weaker, I feel like I’m not where I want to be. But I’m on a learning journey. This is, this is the start of the process of me getting better, then you you get control over it, you get power over it, you gain strength from the conversation, you encourage and offer hope to another person who’s also struggling, which, in turn, helps you feel more valuable, more helpful. So much good comes from it and very little bad, I’m not going to say that it’s not without that it’s without risk, right? To put yourself out there to be vulnerable. Yeah, there are some people who will exploit that use it against you, whatever, I would argue that the benefits far outweigh the risk. And that in total, in fact, here’s one more key I’ve learned is being vulnerable. I’ve learned to use it as a tool to figure out who I’m dealing with. If I go into a new community, a new organization, say it’s a networking event, or an organization, I’m thinking of joining, or a new company that I’m going to start working with, I will intentionally lead with some vulnerability to see how they respond. And if they respond with defensiveness and posturing, and I can tell there’s Oh, well, that’s not my problem. I don’t. Yeah. And, and it makes them uncomfortable than I know, this is a place where vulnerability is not the norm, where it’s not encouraged. It’s not rewarded. But if people lean in and say, Oh, my goodness, I’m so glad you said that. Because I’ve struggled with that too. Or if they say, Well, man, that’s not my struggle. But here’s what I struggle with. And maybe if you helped me with million, and I can help you with yours, and, and I’ve been there. And if people lean into that vulnerability, and appreciate it, then I know I’m in a community or an organization, where vulnerability is seen as a strength and where it can be valued. And so that’s an organization that I can benefit from and is healthy.

 

Angie 

And I like that idea of using it as a an assessment tool, in a way, right. And I think that can apply to you know, for you it’s in a in a potential business engagement or getting you know sussing out like, Hey, what’s going on here? And what am I going to have, I’m gonna have them help me with, but I think you could also, as an individual, apply that to business relationships, one on one, job seeking potentially, and you know, extending that all of branch when you’re having professional communications in order to get an idea of where someone else or a culture is at and what you need going into. So I love this idea of like, the vulnerability is a superpower. Right? And I also think that Okay, so 70 to 80% of people are gonna go Oh, thank god. Yeah, thank God, you brought this up, right? And, and in a way, if you think about this, being an inner critic, now you just took it out. You just removed it from the inner and now it’s out there. Yeah, be open to talk about and we all know things are better when they’re out there and they open instead of brushed under the rug. Yeah. So I really like this idea of love reframing failure, because then the 20% of people who are going to shame you for the vulnerability aren’t your people. But and and I think the learning that happens through that is almost a conditioning. Right? You become conditioned to to weather that feedback. You also know that isn’t your peep. Those aren’t your people. Yeah, and the next time it happens, even though low light, low likelihood the next time it may happen, your skin is a little thicker to it. And that’s where this kind of like if you think about reframe failure, and be more accepting and more willing to learn from it and then be open with what you have learned from it. That cycle becomes easier and easier and easier to swallow. The more and more you go through life’s journey. Mi. Yes,

 

Kris 

it absolutely does. And, and here again, going back to, you know, sort of the comparison trap. And someone may look at me and say, Well, Chris, of course you can talk about your weaknesses and vulnerabilities because you wrote a book on impostor syndrome, and you speak on stages, and you have this, you know, you have this platform and this credibility that makes it easy for you to speak openly and candidly. And I would argue that I have this platform and this audience and this influence because I do those things. Not I do those things, because I have the influence and the credibility, right. So you can feel like, well, I can’t do that, because I don’t have the respect and trust the people know, that’s how you’re going to build it. That’s how that’s how you’re going to gain influence. That’s how you’re going to build trust, vulnerability, precedes trust, not the other way around. Yes,

 

Angie 

you don’t have to force it as much. Right? Right. I think we try to force those kinds of things. So so so so much when you don’t have to. And I actually want to talk a little bit about the book. And so since you you use that as a perfect example here of flipping that script. Tell us tell that tell everybody more about the book. What can we expect to get out of it? Where do we find it? Tell me more.

 

Kris 

Yeah. So the book is called overcoming the imposter silence your inner critic and lead with confidence. And it is it is intentionally named overcoming present tense, continuous effort, because of what you mentioned earlier that, you know, it’s not something that’s a one and done like you learn about it, you figure out how to conquer it, and then you go on about your life. It’s, it’s an ongoing process. And so I talk I wrote in the book about buildings, a series of habits, there’s 10 habits that I unpack that help you to recognize impostor syndrome when it happens to counteract that voice of the inner critic, and, and to build confidence in stressful and difficult and challenging moments. So as I said, Before, when I learned about impostor syndrome, it was a game changer. I started talking about it a lot with my clients with other entrepreneurs. Even speaking about it from stages, I would work it into keynotes and talks I was giving. And people would come up to me and say that imposter syndrome thing that was a game changer, you changed my life today. And so I started just getting this feedback that this was a really important topic that wasn’t being talked about enough that and that people needed to hear and understand because I think now we’re in a place where a lot of people have heard of it. Not everyone truly understands the mind game that goes on and how to counteract it. And so I’ll be honest with you, I first hunted for a book that I felt like really explained this well, because I read a ton, and I love recommending books. I even have an email list where I offer book summaries every week to my audience on different business books and, and game changing ideas. But I couldn’t find one that I felt good about recommending. And eventually, it became a compulsion that this book needed to exist and it didn’t. So it was my assignment to write it. So the book includes a little bit of my story, a lot of other entrepreneurial stories, I interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs and included many of their stories and their variations, because imposter syndrome takes on so many different forms. And it’s a really unique experience for each person. So I tried to include a lot of different examples, so that hopefully every person can find themselves somewhere in those pages. And then I break down the mental battle. And I talk about some many of these concepts we’ve covered, reframing the fear of failure to getting vulnerable and understanding the power and the value of vulnerability. And then, as I said, those mental habits that you build so that when self doubt comes up, because it will continue to come. But when it comes up, you can identify it immediately. counteract it quickly, and minimize its effect. And even in some cases, use it as a tool, use it as a sign, allow it to lead you into great things. I’ve learned to recognize imposter syndrome as a sign that I’m doing something important and powerful.

 

Angie 

Well, because it usually comes with what does that mean? We see all the time, the things, the thing that scares you is probably the thing you’re meant to be doing. Yeah, so sometimes the imposter needs to be needs to be put in check. However, sometimes you need to lean into it and figure out why is it coming up in that moment? And what that tells you so it could be just as much of a resource as it could be. Yes, a hindrance. Yes,

 

Kris 

imposter syndrome rarely comes up in your comfort zone. And so it’s often a sign that you’re outside of your comfort zone, which of course is where the man Just happens. Greatness takes place outside of your comfort zone. And so I’ve learned to seek when I when I start to feel a little self doubt when I start to feel insecure about something, I look at that now as Ooh, okay, there’s opportunity here, I’m doing something meaningful, or I’m with people that intimidate me. And that means there’s opportunity there, I can learn from these people. I’m in an environment that I’m a little uncomfortable, but that means it could be new doors opening. So I lean into it and say, what is the good thing that’s happening that’s causing me to feel some anxiety and some fear? And then I reframe that as there’s opportunity here, if I push through it, rather than allowing it to hold me back?

 

Angie 

Oh, this is so good. And I hope all of you out there that I really like your approach to this because you found a way to take what is a mental condition that requires emotional psychological tools and put them into I’m gonna call it a somewhat practical framework of actions and habits that you can apply to the mental condition, but still give you like almost a tangible thing to kind of challenge that mindset lean into it when you should, and quiet it when it’s trying to just be the disrupter. Yes.

 

Kris 

And that was really my goal with this book is to give you just enough of the theoretical for you to understand it, and then get practical, like, Okay, here’s what we do. And, and so, the book is full of practical advice, examples, illustrations, some diagrams, you know, tools you can take and use. And hopefully, as I said, they turn into habits that you use for the rest of your life. This will serve you for the rest of your career, certainly, and maybe the rest of your life.

 

Angie 

I love good, a good book of tools. So I’m going to put you on the spot. Since I know you love to read and you like bookstores? What are a few of your favorites, original stack of business, but what are what comes to mind really quickly?

 

Kris 

Yeah, some great ones that I have relied on Carol Dweck mindset was very influential in helping me develop this content. I assume that one is in the you’re pointing to it on your bookshelf. That one’s in the bibliography. And I credit that book for some of the material. Clayton Christensen’s How will you measure your life is a great book. So Clayton Christensen is a you know, one of the great thinkers of our time, sadly, he passed away a few years ago, but he has developed a lot of great business and management theory. And in how will you measure your life, he applies a lot of those principles to our personal lives and our personal priorities and what is important what we value. So, for an entrepreneur like myself, it’s a really great way to reframe some of those concepts into what’s important for me in my life. And then a third one I’ll mention is called DIY brain by Dr. Roger Hall, who was one of my executive coaches early in my career and has become a good friend and he breaks down a lot of the, the psychology and the physiology of what goes on in our brain when we build habits and patterns, and how to recognize some of those things and, and change them when it’s important. In his book is a great combination of education and entertainment. He’s funny, he’s quirky, it’s eye opening. So I really have enjoyed that one. It’s sitting on my desk because I plan to read it again. I plan to have my kids read it as well. DIY brain by Roger Hall.

 

Angie 

So you just got so many resources, we haven’t done the book recommendation in a while so I’m glad that that came up. And speaking of books and where we find them and you and I know you’re on some stages and doing some speaking how do we find you your book tune into to you maybe explore speaking like all the things

 

Kris 

so easy to find online? If you remember, my name starts with a K Kris K. E. L. S. O Chris Kelso. So I’m at Chris kelso.com. I’m Chris Kelso on most of the social media platforms, and the books specifically, as well as my keynote speech on this topic you can all find at overcoming the imposter.com. The book is there, you can get a free sample chapter of the book. And in fact, it’s the chapter on reframing the fear of failure as failure is learning and it’s a great metaphor I unpack in these two different mindsets, the tour guide and the Explorer. And so I offer that chapter for free because it is one of the most powerful and impactful chapters in the book. I also have a digital course that I have built based on this book if you really want to go deep like exercises and a workbook and there’s 23 video lessons. That is all available at overcoming the imposter.com

 

Angie 

and you know we will have all of these Hello. So you’re gonna get a boatload of resources out there, y’all. Because this is, this is all really, really good stuff. I love the course. And I’m already like, I have some people who need that. So we will link all of that to the show notes at no more Mondays dot info so you can grab Chris’s book, you can tune into the course you can check out his speaking you can look at the other books, he recommends kind of all the things and I can’t believe that it’s time to wrap up because this is this is a topic that I could just hash out for all day. And as we do kind of kind of bring the this conversation to a close I want I think it would be awesome to give everybody one more little tip of advice. So I love the two, the two that stand out to me are reframing, failure and embracing vulnerability. So let’s give everybody one more tip like what’s your number one piece of advice on how we can all get one step closer to career and life satisfaction.

 

Kris 

One of the symptoms of imposter syndrome is the inability to accept a compliment at face value. So what happens if someone says, Hey, you did great work on that I loved your podcast, it was awesome. And we tend to deflect with sarcasm. That’s my go to right? Oh, it was not that big a deal, you know, or we downplay it, we we try to pass it off to somebody else in an attempt to air quote, appear humble, right? And so we we downplay or deflect the compliment with a joke or sarcasm, whatever. And what I’ve come to realize is that when someone pays you a compliment, and you downplay it or deflect it, you’re actually insulting that person

 

Angie 

as you are, they have

 

Kris 

given you a gift. And you’ve essentially said, it’s not that valuable on it, I don’t want it, I’m going to send it over here, I’m going to toss it aside, you’re you’re basically tell them that their opinion doesn’t matter, or that their standards are really low, they don’t know what they’re talking about. And so one of the things that I will encourage people to do is just stop doing that. Make it a habit. And this is what because it’s hard to do in the moment. But here’s what I’ve started to do is my my standard response when someone pays me a compliment. It’s number one, thank you. first words out of my mouth, thank you. And then I will add, I worked really hard on that. And it’s nice to know that my work is appreciated. I’m acknowledging the efforts. And I’m showing appreciation for their rep, their recognition of how hard that I worked on what I did, and then stop right there. No jokes, no deflection, no sarcasm. And if you will do that, on a regular basis, you’ll find that you actually start to own and believe the compliments that people give you, you respect the giver and receive the gift and it will begin to boost your confidence. It’ll help you counteract that voice that’s telling you that’s no big deal. You didn’t really do anything special and so stop doing that number one to stop insulting people, but also it’s going to help you to build your confidence and counteract those negative voices when you stop downplaying the compliments people give you

 

Angie 

that’s the mic drop moment of this episode. Everybody. Take the freakin compliment. Yes. I love it. Alright, so I would have just I’m gonna bring it all home and wrap up the the there’s like so many good things. So you know you’re getting the summary by having listened to the whole episode, everyone. I hope you didn’t fast forward to the end. Reframe failure. Yeah. Embrace vulnerability. Yeah. And say thank you when somebody compliments you. Great job. Well done. Yes. And on that note, Chris Kelso. Thank you for being here. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. And thank you for digging into a really important topic that I hope we can make a small, smaller, big impact to change. Thank you. You’re so

 

Kris 

welcome. And thank you for having me. This has been a really fun conversation. I’ve enjoyed it immensely.

 

Angie 

I agree. And now we’ve got another member of the No More Mondays movement, Kris Kelso, everybody thank you so much for being here. It’s always a joy to hear people who are willing to be vulnerable and sharing their own crossroads and stories better yet when some amazing resource to help others overcome that comes out of it. So I hope all of you will head on over to no more Mondays dot info, check out the show notes, grab a copy of Chris’s book or the course. And while you’re there, leave us a five star rating because this is a killer conversation everybody. And I want to keep bringing you great stories. So, in the meantime, if you want to leave us comments, guest suggestions, feedback, or again grab the show notes from today’s episode, head on over to no more Mondays dot info, and until next week, this has been no more Mondays